The adults of today didn’t have the luxury of computers and advanced software as children. We grew up with old fashioned toys, puzzles and board games, enjoying the pleasures and excitement that these fabulous pastimes gave us without so much as a ‘mouse’ or a ‘floppy disk’ in sight.
Board games, in particular, have been firm favourites with kids for many years, and the vast choice available meant that we could enjoy a selection of games that we could share with the whole family. Getting ‘Snakes & Ladders’, ‘Ludo’ or ‘Monopoly’ as a birthday or Christmas present was like a dream come true.
These days children don’t get board games any longer. Instead parents opt to buy them flash, expensive computer games, and the child then spends the remainder of the year locked in the bedroom, glued to the computer screen and mindlessly racing cars around a virtual track. There is no interaction with the rest of the family, and the games have no educational value to speak of.
However, the old, classic board games are still around today, and before you decide which computer game to buy your child for his birthday, consider what the benefits and values of getting a board game can be:
Interaction: A board game is something can involve some or all of the family, which means that you child will be interacting as well as playing, rather than being locked in a room alone as they are often are with computer games.
Numeracy Skills: Most board games require the use of basic numeracy. Even using the dice means that you need to use numeracy skills so that you know where you have to move your game piece to. Games such as monopoly can help even further with numeracy skills, as your child will have to monitor how much money he has and will need to collect and pay money as he lands on the various properties.
Literacy Skills: Many board games also involve the use of literacy skills. Games such a Junior Scrabble can be excellent for the development of literacy, giving your child the opportunity to enhance spelling skills, word formation and sentence structure.
Patience and Understanding: Both of these virtues are used and developed whilst playing board games. Your child will need to learn the art of patience both when waiting for others to take their turn, and when making a decision (he will soon learn that rushing decisions can often mean losing the game). The understanding comes in to when your child learns that what one person does can impact upon what happens to everyone else in the game.
Co-operation: Many board games will also help to teach your child the values of co-operation. This is done in many ways, from very simple aspects such as passing the dice around in the correct order of play to paying out money in games such as Monopoly.
Mind Stimulation: Board games will really help to stimulate your child’s mind because many of them require careful thought. Whether your child is contemplating a move in Junior Chess or deciding whether to buy a hotel in Monopoly, he will be using his mind in order to reach the decision which he feels is best.
Board games have a wide range of values that most people don’t even think about when buying them. To most people, a board game is a low cost way to relieve boredom. However, board games can be educational tools as well as great fun for the whole family, giving your child a chance to learn, interact and enjoy.
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